27 May 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on the Minister for Health and the Government to ensure that there is no cliff-edge to current wage supports for workers as our economy reopens over the coming weeks and months, and to ensure that the Bar & restaurant sector is supported to recover after a very difficult year.
Speaking in the Dáil, the Cork South Central TD said
“We are now at a stage that our society and economy are beginning to reopen again. This is very welcome, and enormous credit is due to the people of Ireland for their efforts and sacrifices to keep people safe.
“There is a danger, though, that as we reopen, some of the protections and the scaffolding that has been created for workers in certain sectors could be cast aside. It is crucially important that there is no cliff-edge to wage supports.
“This is particularly relevant for hospitality and related sectors. There are tens of thousands of people working in our pubs and restaurants, and they have put up with an awful lot, having done so knowing that they were assisting the public health emergency and keeping people safe.
“It will take time for hospitality to fully recover, and for related industries including taxis and food supply businesses. The Government must continue to support these sectors and these workers until they are fully recovered.
“There is also a lot of frustration over the recent guidelines on how hospitality will reopen. There seems to be an incoherence in relation to hotels and restaurants and there is a lot of frustration over the 105 minute rule.
“The 105 minute rule arguably encourages people to go to a number of different venues, which is not desirable. I believe the Government ought to consider whether this is in fact counterproductive.
“This is an exciting time as Cork pubs and restaurants reopen their doors, some for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. I am sure that the public will come out and support these local businesses. They have had a dreadful year, and so many thousands of workers and families depend on these jobs. But more than that, I would urge the Government to continue to support these sectors and their workers as we progress through this reopening. “